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Rajasthan

rajasthan India

Known as the ‘Land of the Kings’, Rajasthan is an Indian state located on the north-western part of the country. It is the largest state in India by area which covers 342,239 square kilometers and 7th largest with respect to population. The capital of Rajasthan is Jaipur – which is also known as Pink city.Thar desert – the world’s 17th largest desert occupies a large part of the Rajasthan state on its western end. 60% of this desert lies in Rajasthan and 25% is spread out in other states like Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab, while the remaining 15% lies in Pakistani province of Punjab.

Rajasthan, India has 7 divisions – Ajmer, Bharatpur, Jaipur, Jodhpur,, Bikaner, Kota, and Udaipur. It is known for its vibrant and colorful culture and is filled with several magnificent forts and historical architectures of Rajputana style. The cities of Chittorgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Sawai Madhopur, Jhalawar, Jaipur, Udaipur, and Jaisalmer consist of the UNESCO designated Hill Forts of Rajasthan which are a treat to the eyes. The state also offers several adventure sports opportunities and a jeep or camel safari in the Thar Desert and Ranthambore National Park. With its vibrant culture, craft, delicious food, stunning architecture, and humble people, Rajasthan is in all sense a traveler’s delight.

Rajasthan Population and Language

There are 8.1 crore (81 million) people in Rajasthan, out of which 88.5% are Hindus, 9.1% are Muslims, 1.3% are Sikhs, and less than 1% are Christians or Jains.The people in Rajasthan state are known as Rajasthanis – most of them are also known as Marwaris.

Marwari is the most-spoken language across Rajasthan and it has 5 prominent dialects - Marwari, Mewari, Dhundhari, Mewati and Harauti along with several other dialects in certain regions.The second most-spoken language is Hindi.

History of Rajasthan

The area in which Rajasthan state lies today was known in ancient history as Matsya kingdom. It was a major site of the Indus Valley Civilization - a Bronze Age civilization in the north-western regions of South Asia, that lasted from 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE.In the early medieval period. Many Rajput kingdoms like Pratihars, Chauhans of Ajmer, Sisodias of Mewar, Shekhawats of Shekhawati Sikar, Rathores of Marwar and so on, ruled this land and influenced the Rajput culture that exists here. The rulers and kings of Rajasthan bravely fought against the Mughal rulers for years which led the deterioration of several parts of the state and death of many people. The Mughal kings could not capture complete state of Rajasthan and the empire started declining after several years, when the state came under the influence of Maratha empire. The Maratha empire was then replaced by the British empire in 1818 who ruled the country for over 200 years.

The modern Rajasthan comprises of Rajputana, which includes the former nineteen princely states, three chiefships, and the British district of Ajmer-Merwara.

Culture

Rajasthan has many folk-dance forms and folk music that is popular in North India too. These include – Ghoomar dance, Khalbeliya, Katputhli, Bhopa and Teratali are some examples of folk music and dance forms. These are the essence of Rajasthani culture.Rajasthan is also famous for its handicrafts that include Block prints, tie, and dye prints, Bagaru prints, Sanganer prints and Zari embroidery which are used in various clothing designs across the country.

Rajasthan, India is also known for its cuisine which is known for its spiciness and a variety of non-vegetarian dishes. Dal BaatiChurma is a very popular dishes here serve with lentil stew and dough balls topped with ghee.

Rajasthan Tourism Places

Rajasthan has many ancient forts, religious places, monuments and palaces that make up for some of the best places to visit in Rajasthan. It is a place known for its royal traditions and is a favorite destination for people who want to get a taste of royalty, or even celebrate weddings and engagements. Some stunningly beautiful must-see tourist placesin Rajasthan with amazing architecture include:

  • Jaipur: The capital of Rajasthan, also known as ‘The Pink City’ because of its pink and saffron colored buildings, Jaipur is the largest city of the state and was founded by Kachwaha Rajput Ruler Sawai Jaisingh II. The forts, edifices, majestic temples, gardens, museums, palaces, and vibrant marketplaces of Jaipur compel visitors from across the world to see the royal beauty of Jaipur in all its glory. Some of the best places to visit in Jaipur Rajasthan are - City Palace, Nahargarh Fort, Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal, Amer Fort, Jantar Mantar, Birla Temple, Albert Hall Museum, Pink City Bazaars, etc.
  • Udaipur: A place like dream, Udaipur has been touted has the ‘Venice of the East’ and the City of Lakes by many tourists and locals alike. Founded in 1553 by the Sisodiya Rajput Ruler Maharana Udai Singh II, Udaipur is renowned for its pristine lakes and beautiful palaces that depict the finesse of Rajputana style of architecture, most of which are made white, that makes this city a dreamland. Some of the best places to visit in Udaipur Rajasthan are City Palace, Lake Palace, Bagore ki Haveli, Jagdish Temple, Moti Magri, Shilpgram, Saheliyon Ki Bari, etc.
  • Jodhpur: The second largest city of Rajasthan and one of the most beautiful places to visit in terms of stunning architecture, Jodhpur was founded in 1459 by Rathore Rajput Ruler, Rao Jodha Singh of Marwar and is known as the Sun City because of the sunny weather all year round. Jodhpur Rajasthan attracts numerous visitors throughout the year because of its rich heritage, royal forts, palaces, and the old walled city such as Mehrangarh Fort, Umaid Bhavan Palace, Jaswant Thada, Mandore Gardens, Balsamand Lake, Masuria Hills Garden, etc.
  • Jaisalmer: Glimpse the heart of Thar Desert along with the beauty of the Golden City, Jaisalmer was founded in 1156 AD by the Bhati Rajput ruler MaharawalJaisal Singh which is stunningly adorned with its golden sandstone architecture. The city of Jaisalmer Rajasthan was constructed as a walled city and the architecture is the unique feature of it along with the beautiful art and craft known in the region Some best places to visit in Jaisalmer are – Jaisalmer Fort, Sam Sand Dunes, Patwon-Ki-Haveli, Jain Temples, Bada Bagh, Gadisar Lake, etc.
  • Pushkar: Lying on the shores of Pushkar Lake which is believed to have been created by the tears of Lord Shiva, Pushkar is often termed as the King of all pilgrimage sites in India. It is one of the oldest cities of India with several temples and ghats that are visited by thousands of devotees during the annual bath. The Pushkar Lake is considered holy and sacred and along with the annual camel fair, attracts tourists for its sacred beauty and the tranquil vibes. Places to visit in Pushkar Rajasthan include – Pushkar Lake, Brahma Temple, Savitri Temple, Varaha Temple, Man Mahal, etc.
  • Chittorgarh: Founded by the Mauryan Empire and the birthplace of some major historical figures such as Maharana Pratap and Meera Bai, Chittorgarh is an ancient city consisting of distinct palaces, temples, and forts which depict some of the finest architectural designs and artistic mastery in India. Upon visiting, visitors can find several Rajput style architectures, some of them are inside the fort complex of the city with palaces, gardens, and temples and with historical significance as well. Places to visit in Chittor Rajasthan are Chittorgarh Fort, Rana Kumbha Palace, Vijay Stambh, Kriti Stambh, Meera Temple, Fateh Prakash Palace, Rani Padini Palace, etc.
  • Mount Abu: The only hill station in the otherwise desert land of Rajasthan, Mount Abu Rajasthan offers relief to the people from the scorching sun and is nestled in the Aravalli Mountain ranges. Erstwhile known as the Arbuda Mountain, which is believed to be the place where Great Sage Vashishta retired, Mount Abu is frequented by many visitors for more than one places to visit and for some adventure sports such as paragliding, trekking, and hot air balloon ride. Some of them include – Dilwara Jain Temples, Guru Shikar, Nakki Lake, Trevor’s Tank, Achaleshwar Mahadev Temple, etc.
Historical Places to Visit in Rajasthan
  • Hawa Mahal - Located in Jaipur, it is a vast architecture made of red sandstone and has numerous windows for the erstwhile royal ladies of the palace.
  • Kumbhalgarh Fort - Known for its expansive architecture and offering a stunning visual of the Aravali ranges. The fort was built in 15th century and is the second-largest fort in the world of its kind.
  • Chittor Fort - The largest palace in India located in Udaipur and has a magnificent architecture along with a small lake. Kirti Stambh and Vijay Stambh are highlights of the fort.
  • Mehrangarh Fort - One of world’s largest forts located in Jodhpur and known for its massive architecture, royal museum, striking palaces, seven gates, and imprints of cannon balls in its walls.
  • Jantar Mantar - A celestial observatory located in Jaipur and is home to largest stone sundial in the world and is designated a UNESCO site.
  • Umaid Bhawan Palace - Amongst world’s largest private residential properties, Umaid Bhawan Palace has got 347 rooms and is located at the highest point in Chittar Hills in Jodhpur.
  • Karni Mata Temple - Located in Bikaner, Rajasthan and is dedicated to Goddess Karni, a reincarnation of Goddess Durga. It is home to thousands of rats.
  • Abhaneri Stepwells - Also called Chand Baori, the stepwell is 20 meters deep and comprises 13 levels which makes it the deepest step wells in India.
  • Bhangarh Fort - It is said to be a “Haunted” fort – where supernatural happenings and sights have been reported, though nothing is confirmed – an intriguing place that will give you the chills.
  • Amer Fort - A majestic fort built by Sawai Jai Singh Maharaj and houses Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan -i-Khas, Sheesh Mahal, Jai Mandir, Kesar Kyari, etc.
  • City Palace - The royal abode of erstwhile rulers of Rajasthan and houses many small palaces like Chandra Mahal and number of gardens and temples inside it.
Rajasthan Food

Rajasthan’s cuisine is a mix of a variety of vegetarian as well as some non-vegetarian dishes which were influenced by the Rajputs who lived here, who are predominantly non-vegetarians. 

Some of the popular dishes from Rajasthani cuisine include –

  • Dal BaatiChurma
  • Gatte ki Kadhi
  • Laal Maas (Red Meat curry)
  • Ghevar
  • Mawa Kachori
  • Moong Dal halwa
  • Bajra Roti with Lehsun (Garlic) Chutney.
Adventure Activities in Rajasthan

Some thrilling activities and things to do in Rajasthan for adventure lovers are -

  • Hot air ballooning (in Pushkar)
  • Camping (Jaisalmer, Pushkar, Jhalawar)
  • Paragliding (in Jaipur)
  • Wildlife Safari (Ranthambore, Bikaner, Bundi, Bharatpur, Jodhpur)
  • Zip Lining (Jodhpur)
  • Jeep Safari (Jodhpur, Bikaner, Shekhawati)
  • Trekking and Hiking (Chittorgarh)
Festivals

Rajasthan state’s rich culture and heritage can be seen reflected in its colorful festivals that have been celebrated through ages. Some reflect ethnicity, some heritage, and some are simply cultural events. Apart from Holi, Diwali, Dussehra, and other commonly celebrated festivals in the country, here is a list of some of the famous festivals and events of Rajasthan:

  • Teej - Worship of Goddess Teej with a grand procession where a golden palanquin of the goddess is taken across the city with decorated elephants, horses, and camels.
  • International Kite Festival - A vibrant kite festival of Rajasthan celebrated around Makar Sankranti.
  • Elephant Fair - Held every year on the day of Holi on Jaipur Polo Ground, where elephants are decorated with heavy clothing and jewelry and presented for races, shows, and competition.
  • Brij Holi - A festival of colors and worship of Lord Krishna, this is celebrated a few days before Holi festival where lord Krishna is revered, and people splash colors on each other.
  • Pushkar Camel Fair - A camel trade fair where thousands of camels gather for trading and the festival is celebrated with music and dance.
  • Mewar Festival - World’s 2nd living heritage festival, this is celebrated in Udaipur in the onset of spring with folk dance, music, food, and festivities.
  • Summer Festival - Celebrated on the day of Buddh Purnima and goes for three days where cultural events, horse racing, skating races, boat racing, and tug or water, etc. can be seen.
  • Winter Festival - Various artists and artisans from distinct parts of the state come and showcase different forms of art, handicraft, food, and culture.
  • Rajasthan International Folk Festival - A celebration of traditional folk music and arts in Jodhpur to promote folk culture and music and is held every year on Sharad Purnima.
  • Gangaur Festival - Symbolizes togetherness of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, the festival is mainly celebrated by women and lasts for 18 days.
  • Kumbhalgarh Festival - Known for its extravagant dance performances from across the country, vibrant musical shows, and stunning fireworks display.
  • Desert Festival - One of the main festivals of Rajasthan, it is celebrated amid the Thar Desert where Rajasthani folk culture is showcased through dance, music, gymnastic, camel polo, camel races, and some thrilling sports.
Museums and Art Galleries

To explore the heritage, artistry, and history of Rajasthan, the museums and art galleries are the best places to resort to. Here are some of the best museums and art galleries in Rajasthan:

  • The Palace Museum - Museum showcasing the opulent life and lifestyle led by the Maharajas of Alwar, rare manuscripts, Ragamala paintings, and miniatures and historic swords.
  • Hawa Mahal Museum - Museum showcasing the history of Jaipur and Hawa Mahal
  • Government Archaeological Museum – An archaeology museum displaying relics dug out in excavation from different parts of the state.
  • Bagore Ki Haveli - A palace museum with over a hundred rooms that display traditional costumes and modern art.
  • Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing - Housed in a restored mansion, the museum displays an assortment of block printed textiles along with images, tools, and equipment.
  • Albert Hall Museum - The stunning museum displays wide ranging metal objects, wood crafts, carpets, stone, and metal sculptures, arms, weapons, natural stones, etc.
  • Mukhesh Art Gallery - The art gallery displays 14000 unique paintings by local artists along with enticing handicrafts, marble items as well a framed museum-quality prints.
  • Galley Artchill - India’s one of largest Modern and Contemporary Art Galleries housed inside Amber Fort and showcases a broad range of multimedia art by local artists.
  • Shekhawati Open-Air Art Gallery - The Havelis of Shekhawati in Rajasthan tells the stories of its rich culture and history via stunning fresco paintings.
  • Adroit Art Gallery - Displaying traditional Rajasthani paintings, figurative art, contemporary experimentation, and still life.
  • Locky Art School and Art Gallery - An art gallery where you can buy art from local artists at reasonable rates, take a painting lesson, or indulge in ancient tradition of henna design done on your body.
Best Hotels

Best budget hotels in Rajasthan:

  • Le Pension Kesar Villas
  • The Desert Pride Hotel
  • Narayan Palace
  • Casa De Kaku
  • Acacia Inn Hotel
  • Ajit Mansion
  • Ajitbagh Camp Resort
  • Arya Haveli
  • Blue Bird Hotel

Rajasthan has some of the world’s best high-end hotels, most of which are heritage mansions which are turned as hotels now. Best luxury hotels in Rajasthan are:

  • Shahpura House
  • Kankariya Heritage
  • Mandawa Kothi
  • Ranbanka Palace
  • Dadhikar Fort Hotel
  • Laxmi Palace Heritage Boutique Hotel
  • Amanbagh
  • The Oberoi Udaivilas
  • Samode Haveli
  • Umaid Bhawan Palace
Wildlife Parks in Rajasthan

Rajasthan has some of the most exotic wildlife and floral species that can be witnessed in many of its wildlife sanctuaries and parks. Explore the splendor of flora and fauna in Rajasthan with these wildlife parks:

Famous National Parks in Rajasthan –

  • Ranthambore National Park, Sawai Madhopur
  • Sariska National Park, Alwar
  • Desert National Park, Jaisalmer
  • Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur
  • Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, Kumbhalgarh
  • Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary, Mount Abu
  • Sajjangarh Wildlife Sanctuary

Wildlife Sanctuaries in Rajasthan –

  • Darrah Sanctuary, Kota
  • Sita Mata Sanctuary, Pratapgarh
  • National Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary, Kota
  • Keladevi Wildlife Sanctuary, Karauli
  • Machiya Biological Park, Jodhpur
  • Ramgarh Vishdhari Sanctuary, Bundi
  • Mukundara Tiger Reserve, Kota
How to Reach
  • By Air: There are three major airports in Rajasthan in Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Udaipur which connect all major cities and international flights.
  • By Train: The railway stations in Jaipur and Kota in Rajasthan are the major hubs connecting almost all the cities of India. There are other train stations as well which connect the neighboring cities and the rail is the cheapest way to travel to Rajasthan from far away places in a cheap manner.
  • By Road: Rajasthan has 20 NH passing through the state with NH-8 being the busiest of all connecting Mumbai, Delhi, and other major cities. Buses are operated

Rajasthan

A place of magnificent architecture and royal history, Rajasthan is the crown of the west with exquisite architectural heritage, history singing in every nook and corner, umami cuisines, and a vibrant culture that brings the place alive, that can best be experienced in person with your eyes to behold its beauty.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Rajasthan famous for?

Rajasthan is famous for its culture, its history, its historica architecture and forts and several lake palaces.

What are the main cities of Rajasthan?

Rajasthan has around 19 prominent cities and main cities include – Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Kota, Ajmer, Bikaner, Bhilwara, Sikar, Alwar, Bharatpur.

Where is Thar Desert located in Rajasthan?

Thar desert covers an area of 238,254 sq. km. and stretches to Jodhpur and Jaipur area of Rajasthan along with parts of Haryana, Gujarat, and Punjab.

What was the old name of Rajasthan?

The old name of Rajasthan was Rajputana

Where is Jaswant Thada?

Jaswant Thada is a cenotaph located in Jodhpur in Rajasthan. It was built by Maharaja Sardar Singh of Jodhpur in memory of his father and serves as a cremation ground.

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